Photo by tomplesnik/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by tomplesnik/iStock / Getty Images

Brigitte Bardot frolicked on the beaches of St. Tropez in the '50s, and transformed the peaceful fishing village overnight into a sizzling jet-set favorite; now it's the playground of rap stars and international socialites. Most of the sandy hot spots lie southwest of town on the Baie de Pampelonne. Tropeziens have thrived on their sexy image ever since: at the Vieux Port, yachts like spaceships jostle for millionaire moorings, and infinitely more tourists rush to admire them - yet, there is a serene side to this village trampled by 100,000 visitors a day in summer. 

As you already know, I like to have some good recommendations when I travel to maximize my travel experience. I asked my friend Cleo who spends a month every summer in St-Tropez to guide us through this elite summer destination.

mademoiselle jules st-tropez by cleo city guide

After working as a publicist for Cirque du Soleil for seven years, Cleo left Montreal for Miami to become Global Marketing Director for Nikki Beach. She is now in charge of marketing and new business for AJCP in the hotel industry. She loves everything about life and tries to make the most of every day. Travel, food, sport, beach.... New York, Miami and the South of France are her favorite hangouts, but she wishes she could take her friends from Montreal with her everywhere because there are no friends like the ones you make at home. 

St-Tropez by Cleo

How would you describe the city of St-Tropez: A charming picturesque village in the South of France where thousands of jetsetters mix in with the local fishermen every summer.  Made famous by Brigitte Bardot in the 50s.

brigite bardot st-tropez mademoielle jules city guide

What is your city philosophy: It is ok to drink Rosé at noon.

What is your neighborhood of choice:  The beaches of Pampelonne or the center of town.

The best way to get around the city: Scooters. 

Your favorite hotels and why: Byblos because it is right in town. Hotel Muse for a contemporary décor and for peace and quiet, Hotel Pandei.

Best place for a cup a coffee, fresh juice: Sénéquier on the Port of St-Tropez. Karl Lagerfeld frequent hangout.

Favorite bakery: La Tarte tropézienne.

Best brunch: The French do not brunch, they do long lunches on the beach. Not to be missed: the famous Club 55, Nikki Beach or Bagatelle.

A good restaurant for lunch with friends:  Pizzeria des Salins or Cabane bambou for a more casual lunch.

Where to eat out at night: The Strand, La Brasserie des Arts, Le Bistrot la Truffe.

The best stop for “people watching”: Café de Paris on the port of St-Tropez.

After work cocktails 5 to7: Nikki Beach for a wild time or Sénéquier on the Port.

For a fun girls night out: Definitely la Brasserie des Arts, then Les Caves du Roy for clubbing.

Great date spot: The Strand or Rivea at Byblos.

mademoiselle jules st-tropez city guide

Best spot for work and business meeting: Hotel de Paris

Before you leave the city you HAVE to: rent a little car and get lost of the roads of St-tropez.

A restaurant classic, an institution: Club 55, definitely.

Your absolute favorite place: Club 55

What is totally overrated: Villa Romana

Where do you unwind: La Réserve de Ramatuelle. A day at the pool and the spa.  

Your favorite Museum: Little galleries around town

Place not to be missed: Chateau de la Messardiere for a bellini

Do you have a shopping route: All the beach restaurants have fabulous stores in St-Tropez. Designer bohemian chic with a touch of rock n roll is the style.  The center of town has all the luxury brands from Chanel to Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Alaia etc…

Your favorite multi-brand boutique: Martine Chambon , Plage de Tahiti

Where do you go for a bargain: Some little boutiques in between the big flagship stores still remain and they sell eclectic cool bohemian clothes.  

What about Vintage pieces:  There is a vintage store on Louis Leblanc but beware, this is no bargain.

Where do you go to pamper yourself: The spa at Byblos or Chateau de la Messardiere

Your favorite beauty habits: Order at home massages and manicure pedicure by the pool

Hairstyle, blowdry:  Jacques Dessanges

Where to get a good work out: Le loft de Ramatuelle has amazing water spinning and pilates classes.

How do you stay fit:  Wake up and go for a run. Water Paddle on the beach of Pampelonne. Take a boxing class with Laredj at the local gym.

You have one day & one night in the city: Or your ideal day: Wake up and try to do a run and a yoga class. Then have breakfast and hit the beach for a paddling session and a tan. Lunch at Club 55. Late day shopping in town and a drink at 7 at Sénéquier. Then a little nap before a blowout and a late night dinner followed by drinks at Byblos and dancing until the morning with DJ Jacke at Les Caves.

Best way to escape the city: Take a car and drive to Ramatuelle or La Réserve Spa.

Kid friendly restaurants, museum, activities: St-Tropez is a vacation spot which can be enjoyed by the entire family (at a high cost of course). Children are welcome on all the beach restaurants and families normally stick together until around 10 pm where adult fun begins. Luna Park and the local annual circus never seem to get old for children.